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Post Info TOPIC: Budget for maintenance


RV-Dreams Family Member

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Budget for maintenance


I'm part of the 2015 FT RV Dream Class and I would like to know from the veteran how much should I consider to put in my monthly budget for the maintenance of my rig.  I'm looking at a 40 feet DP, I'm looking to buy new unless I find a really good deal to a similar rig but not more than 2yrs old.  No matter what I buy I will take an extensive warranty but I need to put a figure beside this subject.  This is my first DP and I really don't have a clue about the cost of maintenance during a 12 months period and over.  I just want to have some $$$$ under my pillow to pay for service, etc... and in the event that something occur and is not covered for example.   I'm not a Diesel mechanic but I intend to learn everything I could do by myself instead of always going to the dealer or other garage.

Thanks for your reply and don't hesitate to provide any input, I'm asking this on RV Dreams because I know that I will receive very good advise.

Jean



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RV-Dreams Family Member

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Diesel rigs can go for a while without maintenance, but when they do need it, it's expensive. I just had all the fluids and filters changed in my 6.4l F250 (the 100,000 mile maint.) It cost $700 by a small shop in a low cost of living area of the south. Had I had the same done in a high labor area, say at a Ford dealer, no doubt it would have been almost twice that. Moral of the story is that it depends on how many miles you put on your rig. The previously suggested $2/mile budget sounds a little high, but I think $1.00/mile is not out of the question when considering all the operating costs, including fuel, DEF, etc. Just think of all the things that will eventually need maint/repairs like: brakes, tires, belts, hoses, batteries, fluids and filters, water and fuel pumps, engine sensors, turbos, drive train, steering, shocks, exhaust, emission systems, cooling systems, etc.

Here's a report that shows the average big rig operating expense is $1.38/mile, (but this includes a driver salary of 36 cents/mile.) They also include truck/trailer depreciation at 24 cents/mile. In the case of an RVer, some of this can be applied to living area maint. and repairs. They peg repair and maint costs at only 12 cents/mile - good luck keeping them that low! Twenty cents per mile might be a little more realistic for a typical RVer. So if you travel 1,000 miles/month, that means that you must save about $200 to take care of the inevitable - $120/mo if you can operate as efficiently as a big rig trucker. I think my economy car costs 12 cents/mile in maint costs to keep it on the road! www.thetruckersreport.com/infographics/cost-of-trucking/

Chip

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1999 National Tropical Class A gasser

Toad - 2.4l Chevy Cobalt SS with 400k miles and counting.



RV-Dreams Family Member

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Great resource Chip. And a timely thread.  I have been looking at some method of calculating a maintenance budget also so we will be following this one closely.  Chip's point of repairs getting expensive has me thinking of splitting the maintenance budget with an amount for "major infrequent expenses" set aside in a reserve fund. That way the money for those big ticket expenses will be there when needed.

FWIW, Brian



-- Edited by biggaRView on Saturday 20th of September 2014 09:07:32 AM

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RV-Dreams Family Member

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i Have practically a $0 maintenance budget. As everything is pretty new and, under warranty, and low miles.

We are looking at a crusier for the wife right now.. Hyundias, and kias mostly.. and will be getting one at the dealer as a "certified" used car comes with 100k / 10 year drive drain warranty and a 5 year/60k bumper to bumper.. Should not be much maintenance on a car like that.. The Ram is very simular.. Not sure on the RV.. think it's 2 year.. Not much maintenance cost.. if any..

I do have a slush fund for other stuff.. like buying/selling/flipping.. That can pay the maintenance.

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RV-Dreams Family Member

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No maintenance fund? Truck= brakes, tranny, front and rear differentials, engine oil changes. I flush brakes yearly. Tranny service every 25,000. diffs every 25k. Towing heavy like we are heats brake fluids and they brake down. Trannys work hard. Diffs do also. This is a substantial amount of money.

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RV-Dreams Family Member

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12K on my truck.. and we are getting car for the wife now with 8k on it.. Both warranted to 100k.

If the truck ends up sitting.. I will sell it, and have my trailer transported each month.. and buy me a Vette convertible.. Then I will have a budget for some tires every year..lol

I don't see a need to have a fund to stop by auto zone for some diff fluid.. Easy job. Brake fluid too.. What's that .. $20?

Tranny service / oil changes are pretty cheap.. no need to budget it. couple hundred a year at most..Easier to let the dealer do those..

Ok.. I have a $300 budget.. lol..





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RV-Dreams Family Member

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You situation may be different but I am yet to be in an rv park that allows for servicing vehicles. It's in the hundreds anytime I get major service, truck that is. Wife's car cheap. Wasn't necessarily getting at you, Steve, just pointing out there is a maintenance fund needed if you have new units also. Many live on shoe strings and this bites them.



-- Edited by Glenn West on Saturday 20th of September 2014 11:30:10 AM

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RV-Dreams Family Member

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I'm on a tight budget too. That's why I will do some of it.

If you phsyically have the ability.. most should too. Nothing hard about the maintenance, most of the time..

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RV-Dreams Family Member

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But most full timers have no where to go to do the work our self. It is not allowed. I did all mine when in s&b.

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RV-Dreams Family Member

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We have a bit of an unusual diesel pusher motor home - a vintage bus with a 2-stroke Detroit Diesel. We budget about $2000-3000 a year for upkeep and maintenance. Including fluid and filter changes, safety inspections, brake adjustments and minor repairs that always seem to crop up (this year it was a new air compressor, last year it was this.. or that). Hopefully a new diesel would be a bit less pricey at the start, but best to budget high and not need it.

Even if you don't use the budget up on a yearly basis, there's still major maintenance items that occur very few years - like new tires, suspension maintenance and more.

These beasts run and run and run... but they are heavy equipment, and have high cost to maintain when they need it.

While we love to assist on the maintenance and finding shops that allow us to, as full timers - we just simply don't usually have the facilities and tools available to us to do things like an 8-10 gallon oil change on our own (where are you going to put the old oil, and properly dispose of it?). Not to mention most campgrounds forbid doing maintenance on your rig or vehicle. We don't have room to store proper drive up ramps to do our own chassis work.

We're happy to find a reputable shop, and pay to have our girl professionally maintained and inspected. We like pulling her over a pit or up on a lift a couple times a year and thoroughly checking everything out. We've caught future problems by being diligent in those inspections, and even so.. still have had problems.

It's just part of life on the road.

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Junkman, I don't know how much it is for your truck, but my Ford motorcraft differential fluid is over $20 a qt - and it takes 4 qts! I checked the local parts store rather than the stealership and sure enough an equivalent Mobil-1 synthetic diff fluid for my Ford was $20/qt! Fortunately this high quality synthetic fluid lasts a long time, so you don't have to change it very often.

Chip

 



-- Edited by Sushidog on Saturday 20th of September 2014 04:52:51 PM

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RV-Dreams Family Member

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Sushidog wrote:

Junkman, I don't know how much it is for your truck, but my Ford motorcraft differential fluid is over $20 a qt - and it takes 4 qts! I checked the local parts store rather than the stealership and sure enough an equivalent Mobil-1 synthetic diff fluid for my Ford was $20/qt! Fortunately this high quality synthetic fluid lasts a long time, so you don't have to change it very often.

Chip

 



-- Edited by Sushidog on Saturday 20th of September 2014 04:52:51 PM


 I'm sure it's something similar for the ram.. just had the oil done at the dealer ship.. was $75.. 

just checked on the diffs.. just synthetic 75-90 .no additive. but no change needed unless alot of towing.. I don't think 12 tows a year is alot..But did just do a long tow.. Maybe do the diffs.. now, as I am on private property for 1.5 mo more.

Tranny.. 120k 

transfer case at 120k.

Spark plugs at 30k

Looks like on my truck it all hits at 100k.

Oil changes are 8-10k miles But been doing them every 5k anyways.. 

 

I'm good for a bit.. ok I'll budget $75 for the oil change and some money for the diffs and the DEF..

 

I can do all of this in a back parking lot of a park somewhere.. if I needed too. Ive seen folks doing more work in the parking lot of autozone..lol no joke..

 



-- Edited by The Junkman on Saturday 20th of September 2014 07:43:39 PM

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RV-Dreams Family Member

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I know maintence can get pricey. I had a older class A at one point.. Older units need more maintenance ... and worse.. They need repairs. Stuff breaks.

If I had a old class A , or a older truck. Not only would there be a good maintenance budget. There would be a repair fund.. a big one.

A tranny job can cost a couple grand.. and a engine swap.(They just replaces my tranny under warranty.. dealer charged RAM 9k)... .Add in exhaust, diffs, bearings etc. It never ends either..

That's why I have a truck with a 100k bumper to bumper warranty.. I will max the time of 5 years before the miles..



-- Edited by The Junkman on Saturday 20th of September 2014 07:56:53 PM

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RV-Dreams Family Member

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If you don't put enough away, it will hurt. If you do put enough away, you will end up happier. Maintenance, unexpected repairs and other events, it is all part of the experience.

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I have mine done at speedco for under $300 including two gallons of Lucas oil stabilizer. Once full time I will test the oil about once a year and change it as the test indicates. Differentials and tranny won't be loaded heavy enough to even warm up so I doubt that I will ever change the synthetic lubricant.

I don't expect to put more than about 10k miles a year on it. An oil test will tell me the health of the engine from bearing wear to fluids mixing and help determine necessary maintenance.

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I like Lucky Mike's suggestion in a previous thread. Save some money every month and build a fund for the nasty surprises. If you budget for maintenance and don't need to spend it that month, add the money to your Murphy's Law fund. Sooner or later you're going to need to spend a big chunk you couldn't plan for.

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